Today, March 1, 2021 is the first day of a 2 month Sabbath for me. I have been planning this pause for almost 6 months. I believe in praxis and that liberation via rest will come when we actually make it a part of our lives. No bookings, no social media, no labor, no email. A deep moment to process, rest and imagine. The portal of naps is waiting for me and for us all. I invite you to also find space to detox from technology weekly and to re-imagine rest as the foundation for your own liberation practice.
We are deeply influenced by Black Liberation Theology, Womanism/Womanist Theology, Afro Futurism, Reparations Theory, Somatics and Community Organizing.
Womanism is deep and layered and is the foundation of this work. There are so many amazing books, articles and ways to engage with it. Let slow research be a part of your deprogramming and healing. You will not get free by simply reading memes on social media and attempting to quickly engage via the fast paced scroll life. You will have to stop. You will have to dismantle your own unique cultural history in order to heal your own collective and individual traumas. You will have to do real work to change. Resting is a meticulous love practice. I love this definition by Layli Phillips because of its expansiveness and space for interconnectedness.
What is womanist theology: “Womanism is a social change perspective rooted in Black women’s and other women of color’s everyday experiences and everyday methods of problem solving in everyday spaces, extended to the problem of ending all forms of oppression for all people, restoring the balance between people and the environment/nature, and reconciling human life with the spiritual dimension.” -Layli Phillips, “Womanism: On Its Own,” in The Womanist Reader, p. xx.
For Black Liberation Theology, the book I turn to is from the Father of Black Liberation Theology, James Cone. Spend time slowly going through his work in “A Black Theology of Liberation”
This work is a social justice movement and we have never identified ourselves as being a part of the wellness industry. We are deeply committed to dismantling white supremacy and capitalism by using rest as the foundation for this disruption. We believe rest is a spiritual practice, a racial justice issue and a social justice issue. I began experimenting with these ideals as a way to connect with my Ancestors, to receive a Word from them and to honor my body via rest for the rest they never were able to embody due to slavery and capitalism. This is about more than naps. The work is layered, nuanced and an experimentation.
We Will Rest.
What an amazing virtual rest experience that took place today. Close to 60 resters gathered via Zoom for storytelling, daydreaming, rest and discussion. I am so honored to have the opportunity to hold space for daydreaming, rest, and silence. To imagine a New World that centers liberation, we must practice rest as our foundation to invent, restore, imagine, and build.
I have included the text we engaged with today:
Article: Love as the Practice of Freedom by: bell hooks
Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader, Edited by Katie Geneva Cannon, Emilie M. Townes, and Angela D. Sims.
Renaissance by: Ruth Forman (the specific poem from the book is titled, “On This Day.”)
Here is the poem in full:
On This Day
this is a day without chairs
a day where all the rooms melt together
and there are only corners/corners and humming
wishes and slight breeze
brushing you like palms
this is a day of prayers
a day of painful breaking/a day of peace beneath
a day of arms
eyes and quiet windows
i wish you love from your mother backwards
i wish you deep tunnels without fear
i wish you children’s laughter
i wish you cactus flowers
i wish you moonlight
i wish you real eyes
i wish you a hand across your back/soft like when you were a child
i wish you tears
i wish you clean
i wish you angels in conference around your bed holding you
so there is no space for me even to touch you/just watch
i wish your mother watching
i wish you abalone dreams
i wish you peace
i wish you doves in your kitchen
moonlight in your bathroom
candles when your eyes close and dawn when they open
i wish you so many arms across your shoulders
so many lips kissing your ears that you smile from the inconvenience
i wish you all your babies’ love attacking the center of your heart
just so you know they are there
i wish you banisters, railings, and arms around your waist
i wish you training wheels, i wish you strong shoes
i wish you water o i wish you water
through your feet flowing like a stream
and i wish you hammocks
and melon on your eyes
strawberries in your mouth
and fingers in your hand
fingers in your hand all day
through this house
on this day with no rooms
and an uncommon breeze
By: Ruth Forman
Your Faithful Nap Bishop,
Photo by Charlie Watts Photography. It is part of a photography project curated by Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry and the photographer.
I have claimed the Year of 2020 as “The Year of Grief. The Year of Rest.” I took an impromptu 3 week Sabbath during the height of the uprisings for Black Lives that spilled millions onto American and international streets. I watched with pride as people reacted and protested in a way that shows they are still human. We are divine human beings. Our culture forgets and hides this truth. I was beaming with pride and joy to see. But, I am still processing. So, I signed off from work emails, social media, technology, and labor to grieve and process. I practice what I preach.
I am still processing a global pandemic. I am grieving all the lives lost and missed opportunities. I miss gathering for our Collective Napping Experiences. I am disgusted by our racist health system that has been this way forever. Black, Latino, and Indigenous People are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 due to this sick system. I am sitting in this grief and will not look away. I want to mourn and lament and realize this culture is not set up with systems of care to allow others to stop long enough to rest. This is why this Ministry exists.
I am sick of rushing and the obsession with opening back up and getting back to normal. I never want to see normal or the way it was again. It is time for a new way. Rest and slowing down will be the foundation for this liberated future that many are screaming about online via memes, in the streets during the uprisings for Black Lives and in our hearts. We are not well. We are exhausted and disgusted. I am still grieving from hearing in disturbing detail the lynching of George Floyd by police in Minnesota. I did not watch the video and will never watch the video. I protect my heart and eyes from what my bones already know – I am a target in America. This is not new information. It’s ancient.
So, I am now back from 3 weeks of rest and slowing down. I felt like an outlier the entire time as my inboxes filled up with requests for interviews to speak about the uprisings, to share the repetitive Good News of Rest that I have been preaching since 2016. People were hungry for a reply. Thirsty for me to calm the exhausted beast and soothe the hearts of those who finally decided to wake up to the racial terror that Black folks have been yelling about for decades and centuries. It has always been time for justice. It has always been time to rest. Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy. This is our main tenet since we started researching our REST IS RESISTANCE framework back in 2013. We cling to this truth like a lifeboat in a raging sea. We cling to the power of collective care and collective rest opening the DREAMSPACE that will allow us to invent and imagine a New World rooted in rest.
I am back from Sabbath still processing. It was a beautiful resistance and I went in and out of a liminal space of sleep and meditation. I daydreamed. I stared at the sky. May a space to daydream and slow down open to you. May you realize the power of taking rest since no one will give it to you. This is why rest is a resistance and a slow meticulous love practice. We must continue deprogramming from grind culture. We must continue not turning away from our own terror. We must deconstruct around the ways we uphold grind culture, capitalism and white supremacy. We must wake up. We will rest.
In rest and power,
Your faithful Nap Bishop
Thank you so much for your interest in our work. In celebration of the upcoming Juneteenth Holiday, and to grieve and restore from the uprisings for Black Lives, we will be taking a Sabbath starting June 15th and ending July 5th.
All requests for media interviews, podcasts and IG Live virtual programming will resume after we return. We will sort messages and make decisions about our participation and be in touch.
All requests for collaborations and partnerships are ON HOLD until further
All “in process” projects will continue and we will respond to your communications in a delayed manner. We are grateful for your energy and time. You will hear from Tricia shortly.
You can experiment with our work and rest theories by taking a nap, resting for 10 extra minutes and daydreaming. We send you rest vibes for the marathon journey we all have ahead of us to build a New World rooted in liberation. We will rest.
All the best,
Nap Bishop and Founder of The Nap Ministry
I speak constantly about the theories and ideas that ground our work. Our work did not come out of nowhere. It is not a quick reaction, but instead a deep, slow, organic and intentional exploration into the past via my connection to working in archives and studying the micro-histories of my Ancestors on plantations in the American South during slavery. The work in the archives guided me into studying the science of sleep, black liberation theology, womanism, somatics, reparations theory, and afro-futurism. It came from my personal experience of being an exhausted black woman tired of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. Rest became my refuge and a portal for a connection to my Ancestors. It offered me a place to imagine, heal and be. So, when I proclaim, “Rest is Resistance” and “Rest is Reparations” it is fortified and supported by my deep study and gratitude for all ideas listed above. I am forever grateful and give honor to all my muses and teachers.
I continue to fall deeper into those who came before and have left a legacy for the study and activity of liberation, creation, dreaming and resistance. Octavia Butler and her anointed study of the future and our place in shaping, shifting and becoming are a balm and light for the crisis of COVID-19.
Below is an essay by Octavia Butler titled, “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future.” It is required reading for those who follow The Nap Ministry. I share it here in its entirety with the hope that you will take time to read it slowly, meditate on it, nap and dream with it printed out under your pillow. I dream that you will not immediately react to it but instead analyze and sit with it. This is what the fast-paced, quick, repost and retweet culture of social media has done to us – it has made the beauty of study, deep research and analyzing void. You can repost and write a hashtag in 5 seconds. You can like a post and keep scrolling for 2 more hours in a never-ending space of noise. This is not how we build sustainable movements. We must take our time and slow down. We must rest and be mindful of the power of our imagination. The future is now.
The photo above is from our site installation and collaborative project called “REST” with FreeStreet Theater
“A Few Rules For Predicting The Future” By Octavia Butler
Published originally in Essence Magazine in 2000, COPYRIGHT 2000 Essence Communications, Inc.
SO DO YOU REALLY believe that in the future we’re going to have the kind of trouble you write about in your books?” a student asked me as I was signing books after a talk. The young man was referring to the troubles I’d described in Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, novels that take place in a near future of increasing drug addiction and illiteracy, marked by the popularity of prisons and the unpopularity of public schools, the vast and growing gap between the rich and everyone else, and the whole nasty family of problems brought on by global warming.“I didn’t make up the problems,” I pointed out. ‘All I did was look around at the problems we’re neglecting now and give them about 30 years to grow into full-fledged disasters.’
“Okay,” the young man challenged. “So what’s the answer?”
“There isn’t one,” I told him.
“No answer? You mean we’re just doomed?” He smiled as though he thought this might be a joke.
“No,” I said. “I mean there’s no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers–at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”
Several days later, by mail, I received a copy of the young man’s story in his college newspaper. He mentioned my talk, listed some of my books and the future problems they dealt with. Then he quoted his own question: “What’s the answer?” The article ended with the first three words of my reply, wrongly left standing alone: “There isn’t one.”
It’s sadly easy to reverse meaning, in fact, to tell a lie, by offering an accurate but incomplete quote. In this case, it was frustrating because the one thing that I and my main characters never do when contemplating the future is give up hope. In fact, the very act of trying to look ahead to discern possibilities and offer warnings is in itself an act of hope.
Learn From the Past
Of course, writing novels about the future doesn’t give me any special ability to foretell the future. But it does encourage me to use our past and present behaviors as guides to the kind of world we seem to be creating. The past, for example, is filled with repeating cycles of strength and weakness, wisdom and stupidity, empire and ashes. To study history is to study humanity. And to try to foretell the future without studying history is like trying to learn to read without bothering to learn the alphabet.
When I was preparing to write Parable of the Talents, I needed to think about how a country might slide into fascism–something that America does in Talents. So I reread The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and other books on Nazi Germany. I was less interested in the fighting of World War II than in the prewar story of how Germany changed as it suffered social and economic problems, as Hitler and others bludgeoned and seduced, as the Germans responded to the bludgeoning and the seduction and to their own history, and as Hitler used that history to manipulate them. I wanted to understand the lies that people have to tell themselves when they either quietly or joyfully watch their neighbors mined, spirited away, killed. Different versions of this horror have happened again and again in history. They’re still happening in places like Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor, wherever one group of people permits its leaders to convince them that for their own protection, for the safety of their families and the security of their country, they must get their enemies, those alien others who until now were their neighbors.
It’s easy enough to spot this horror when it happens elsewhere in the world or elsewhere in time. But if we are to spot it here at home, to spot it before it can grow and do its worst, we must pay more attention to history. This came home to me a few years ago, when I lived across the street from a 15-year-old girl whose grandfather asked me to help her with homework. The girl was doing a report on a man who had fled Europe during the 1930′s because of some people called–she hesitated and then pronounced a word that was clearly unfamiliar to her–”the Nayzees?” It took me a moment to realize that she meant the Nazis, and that she knew absolutely nothing about them. We forget history at our peril.
Respect the Law of Consequences
Just recently I complained to my doctor that the medicine he prescribed had a very annoying side effect.
“I can give you something to counteract that,” my doctor said.
“A medicine to counteract the effects of another medicine?” I asked.
He nodded. “It will be more comfortable for you.”
I began to backpedal. I hate to take medicine. “The problem isn’t that bad.” I said. “I can deal with it.”
“You don’t have to worry,” my doctor said. “This second medication works and there are no side effects.”
That stopped me. It made me absolutely certain that I didn’t want the second medicine. I realized that I didn’t believe there were any medications that had no side effects. In fact, I don’t believe we can do anything at all without side effects–also known as unintended consequences. Those consequences may be beneficial or harmful. They may be too slight to matter or they may be worth the risk because the potential benefits are great, but the consequences are always there. In Parable of the Sower, my character put it this way:
All that you touch/You Change All that you Change/Changes you The only lasting truth/Is Change God/Is Change
Be Aware of Your Perspective
How many combinations of unintended consequences and human reactions to them does it take to detour us into a future that seems to defy any obvious trend? Not many. That’s why predicting the future accurately is so difficult. Some of the most mistaken predictions I’ve seen are of the straight-line variety–that’s the kind that ignores the inevitability of unintended consequences, ignores our often less-than-logical reactions to them, and says simply, “In the future, we will have more and more of whatever’s holding our attention right now.” If we’re in a period of prosperity, then in the future, prosperity it will be. If we’re in a period of recession, we’re doomed to even greater distress. Of course, predicting an impossible state of permanent prosperity may well be an act of fear and superstitious hope rather than an act of unimaginative, straight-line thinking. And predicting doom in difficult times may have more to do with the sorrow and depression of the moment than with any real insight into future possibilities. Superstition, depression and fear play major roles in our efforts at prediction.
It’s also true that where we stand determines what we’re able to see. Where I stood when I began to pay attention to space travel certainly influenced what I saw. I followed the space race of the late 1950′s and the 1960′s not because it was a race, but because it was taking us away from Earth, away from home, away to investigate the mysteries of the universe and, I thought, to find new homes for humanity out there. This appealed to me, at least in part, because I was in my teens and beginning to think of leaving my mother’s house and investigating the mysteries of my own adulthood.
Apollo 11 reached the moon in July 1969. I had already left home by then, and I believed I was watching humanity leave home. I assumed that we would go on to establish lunar colonies and eventually send people to Mars. We probably will do those things someday, but I never imagined that it would take as long as it has. Moral: Wishful thinking is no more help in predicting the future than fear, superstition or depression.
Count On the Surprises
I was speaking to a group of college students not long ago, and I mentioned the fear we’d once had of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The kids I was talking to were born around 1980, and one of them spoke up to say that she had never worried about nuclear war. She had never believed that such a thing could possibly happen–she thought the whole idea was nonsense.
She could not imagine that during the Cold War days of the sixties, seventies and eighties, no one would have dared to predict a peaceful resolution in the nineties. I remembered air-raid drills when I was in elementary school, how we knelt, heads down against corridor walls with our bare hands supposedly protecting our bare necks, hoping that if nuclear war ever happened, Los Angeles would be spared. But the threat of nuclear war is gone, at least for the present, because to our surprise our main rival, the Soviet Union, dissolved itself. No matter how hard we try to foresee the future, there are always these surprises. The only safe prediction is that there always will be.
So why try to predict the future at all if it’s so difficult, so nearly impossible? Because making predictions is one way to give warning when we see ourselves drifting in dangerous directions. Because prediction is a useful way of pointing out safer, wiser courses. Because, most of all, our tomorrow is the child of our today. Through thought and deed, we exert a great deal of influence over this child, even though we can’t control it absolutely. Best to think about it, though. Best to try to shape it into something good. Best to do that for any child.
Last January, when the White House asked Octavia Butler, 52, to write a memorandum to the President outlining her vision of the future, the author chose education as her subject. “I was poor, Black, the daughter of a shoeshine man and a maid,” Butler explains. “At best I was treated with gentle condescension when I said I wanted to be a writer. Now I write for a living. Without the excellent, free public education that I was able to take advantage of, I might have found other things to do with my deferred dreams and stunted ambitions.” Instead, she went on to garner science fiction’s highest honors, the Hugo and Nebula awards.
Butler, a native of Pasadena, California, is the author of 11 critically acclaimed novels. Her loyalists return again and again to the worlds created in such titles as Patternmaster, Imago, Kindred and, most recently, Parable of the Sower, a haunting coming-of-age, feminist road novel, and its more hopeful sequel, Parable of the Talents. Winner of a 1995 MacArthur Fellowship for her fiction.
As we cope with a global pandemic and the uncertainty that it will bring, I am meditating on the following: Lament, Mourning, Grief, Rest, Thriving, Spiritual Tools, and the concept of Less Thinking/Doing and More Feeling/Stillness.
We are grieving and may not even want to recognize it or hold space for it because of our socialization to “Keep Going!” This denial of the process of grieving creates more trauma and in the long run, disrupts our healing. One of our popular memes on our IG Page reads: “Grinding keeps us in a cycle of trauma. Rest can disrupt this cycle.”
“Grieving is a process that cannot be rushed to get to the happy thoughts and self-satisfaction that our culture promotes. As a nation, we do not like to dwell on defeat or pain, we take pride in our can-do attitude of overcoming adversity. Lament helps up to tell our stories of suffering loss and pain.” –Grounded in the Living Word: The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices, Denise Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel, p.137.
On an IG Live last week for Wanderlust, I spoke about grief rituals that we could use right now to cultivate silence, softness, and mindfulness. I uplifted the ritual of creating a grief jar and using poetry as an opportunity to experience a new language that is comforting for our hearts and minds.
GRIEF JAR: I believe grieving is an important and deeply healing spiritual practice. I believe that God is in the details and our everyday experiences can provide space to heal, connect and honor ourselves. Our micro-histories are an opportunity to problem solve and restore balance to unsettling and toxic daily experiences. We matter. Our stories matter. Our rest matters.
An idea on creating a Grief Jar: Find a small/medium-sized jar or container around your home that can serve as your “Grief Jar.” Place in a prominent area of your living space so that it can become a symbol for the beauty of grief, lament, and mourning. I have a small mason jar on my desk in my home office. Next, cut up pieces of paper large enough to write text and small enough to fold up. Throughout your day and week, take a few moments to notice and allow for moments of grief. Yesterday, I wrote of my tenderness and sadness for my 12-year-old son who will not be able to celebrate his birthday this weekend with his annual sleepover with friends. He told me he is sad and we leaned into the grief together.
Remember, “Grief comes when people miss one another…Grief is an emotional recognition that something is missing. To acknowledge rather than dismiss this missing is a sacred act of reverencing absence. We can miss what has been – a person, a thing, a relationship, or a commitment, that no longer exists. We can also miss what has never been.” -Grounded in the Living Word: The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices, Denise Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel, p.121.
After making space to notice these feelings of missing, write them down on a slip of paper and add it to the jar. Do this as many times as you need to. Skip some days if that feels right. Let the grief jar serve as a container for the particulars for the now and remembrance of your grief journey. Take a nap or daydream for a few minutes each day that you add to the Grief Jar. Be still.
POETRY WRITING: Poetry is another language that allows us to reach deep into the truth. I have been writing and teaching poetry for close to 20 years. We have read poetry to mark the beginning and end of our Collective Napping Experiences since our first one in 2017. During this slowdown and mourning period as a result of the Coronavirus, I have been writing and reading poetry daily as a way to slow down and listen. Poetry writing also deals with details, knowing and stillness. You must listen deeply to experience the beauty of a poem. I have been working with this poetry prompt, “Things to do when grief is concerned,” and hope it is a starting point for you to experiment with constructing your own.
Here is the first draft of mine:
Things to Do When Grief is Concerned by Tricia Hersey
Call Walgreens Pharmacy and wait on hold for 20 minutes to place an order for a prescription. Be delighted when the pharmacy tech answers. She is so sweet and pleasant. We are both overwhelmed. Pray. Rest.
Smile when you hear the US Mail truck drive near your house. Rest.
Send nudes. Respond to every text you receive with a heart emoji. Even the one from Pizza Hut. Rest.
Deactivate your FB page, Twitter account and leave Instagram for awhile. Seek out Valley moments. Things are grounded there. Rest.
Build an altar with the bathtub as the base. Pour warm water, Epsom salt, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. Baptize yourself daily. Mourn in the water. Uplift your privilege in having clean water and oils. Rest.
Reminisce about the time when you were a child at church and you counted your Mother hug 40 people between Sunday School and the dismissal of the 11am service. Long for hugs. Rest.
Get drunk off uncertainty and remember your Ancestors built a spaceship from uncertainty. Stand in the traces of this resistance. Embrace the power there. Rest.
Cry for no particular reason. Realize mid-cry there are so many particular reasons. Rest.
Write 15 handwritten letters, mail them by getting dressed up after a week in sweat pants. Walk to the mailbox at the end of the driveway. Walk slow. Pose. Look up at the sky. Rest.
Stare out of every window at trees. Examine the sky. Give thanks for deep daydreaming. Rest.
Embrace the feeling of being out of control for 15 minutes, Feel your body free-fall into a cloud of care. Diagram this moment. Archive it for the future. Rest.
Rest. Deep rest. Slower movements. Slower moments. Focus on things with intense study. The way my hands move while washing the dishes, the smell of cocoa butter, how my cat’s stomach moves up and down while he naps for 10 hours a day. Become a vessel for stillness. A miracle walking.
-Your Faithful Nap Bishop
I don’t have any profound new wisdom that hasn’t already been in our culture. There is always ancient knowledge that we have forgotten. So much digital programming is being created right now. The crisis of this peculiar virus is sending us into a dizzying tailspin of grinding in the digital realm. It has been almost a full week that America has realized it is not immune to what happens globally. We are indeed interconnected and intertwined.
During this week, we have buckled in and created enough digital content to last us another decade. I have noticed this tendency in our culture to skip steps during trauma. We jump right to getting over it immediately, leaving no space for the precious ritual of grief, rest and lament. In our minds, there is no time for stopping to process, even in a global pandemic that has killed thousands. I have heard very little about the lives of the people who are now gone and instead been overwhelmed with 10,000 streaming videos to work out, sing, build a treehouse, bake bread, teach math to kids, play an instrument, go to church and everything else under the sun. We want to remain in the way it always was – super productive and focused on doing, even while the systems around us are failing and slowing down.
The truth is we will never go back to “normal” or “regular” after this crisis is contained, and for that, I am grateful and inspired. Our normal and regular pace was never meant for humans, but instead, a machine-level pace fueled by capitalism’s call to create wealth by any means necessary. I am curious now and always by what can be imagined during a true pause. Now that we are being forced to slow down, will we answer the call to collectively stop to dream, daydream, cultivate silence and rest? I believe we have a magical opportunity to stop. There is power in our rest and in our ability to slow down for the sake of collective healing and mourning. It’s time to rest.
In Rest and Power – Your Faithful Nap Bishop, Tricia Hersey
Text for Resurrect Rest School on Sunday, January 19, 2020: Love as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks
We will be reading, analyzing and discussing this article together. Around a table with highlighters and pens. We will have copies available for all but wanted to share a PDF for you to start now. Download and use it as a reference as you follow our IG page. This movement is grounded in ideas and theories that are meant to allow you to deprogram from the toxic brainwashing of grind culture. In order to shift culture and truly transform, it will take study and consistent effort. Its a process of learning.
Our vision is grounded in the following: womanism, Black liberation theology, cultural trauma, somatics and community organizing. We are not just talking about “wellness” for the sake of self-care. We are hoping to tear down toxic systems and create new ways of thriving. This is about more than naps.
Here are a few resources to dig into that have inspired this work:
Womanism: Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader, Edited by Katie Geneva Cannon, Emilie M. Townes, and Angela D. Sims. Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community,? Martin Luther King, Jr. Beacon Press, 2010.
I will add text on Cultural Trauma and Somatics, in a future post.
Photo above: Women taking a nap in church nursery during Freedom Summer Voters Right Movement in 1961. by: Paul Schutzer
The concept of interconnectedness, collective, communal and community is central to the rest theories that support this work. I pose the question: can we find liberation by collectively napping, resting and disrupting grind culture? I believe we can and I have witnessed it in the quiet moments during our Collective Napping Experiences and immersive workshops. I am pondering all the ways in which our collective liberation and accountability are tied to truly shifting the culture around rest. I wrote a large integrative paper while in graduate school for a class called Care of Souls in 2016. In it, I examine the work of Howard Thurman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James A. Vela-McConnell. I uplift my personal experiences of radical community during my father’s sudden death in 2006, while defining the ways in which these authors illuminate the potential of producing global change through a radical understanding of interconnectedness. This is an excerpt from the paper. I am meditating on the idea of Interconnectedness and Liberation as I prepare for our Resurrect Rest School programming.
The tribe surrounded me and my families every move. My mama, the new widow after 40 years of loving this man, was tended to like a newborn baby. Her eight brothers and sisters flew in from all over the country to be her witness and to lament with her. To cook her grits in the morning, to lay in the bed with her, to camp out in the basement on couches and floors. If she needed anything, it was there in one second. This is sacred community. This is the interconnectedness that is key to our liberation. When we stand in the gaps for each other and decide to be relentless in our support and witness, we can shift oppression. The beauty of this reality is that it repeats itself in many forms on our journey in life: childbirth, graduations, in protest marches, at weddings, in classrooms, with strangers on public transportation, in elevators, in courtrooms, in church pews, on war fields, on streets in gang territory, and in death. We are intimately tied to each other. We find God through each other.
Given this experience of seeing the work of interconnectedness in action, how is our interconnectedness related to our liberation as black people in an oppressive society? How can those living in the margins activate the power of mutuality for our collective healing against racism and oppression? Can an encounter with community lead us to liberation?
How could an interconnected and radical embrace of community serve as a form of liberation? How can we build a fortress of care and live into our role as neighbor? “It really boils down to this: That all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. This is the way our universe is structured. That is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality(King, 254).” This is key for our understanding today as we navigate the system of racism and white supremacy in America. I believe that our very survival spiritually rests in community. We are nothing without each other.
If you are interested in digging deeper into these themes, I have added a small bibliography. As we build our Resurrect Rest School, we will have an opportunity to study the work together.
In Rest and Power – Your Faithful Nap Bishop Tricia Hersey
King, Martin Luther, Why We Can’t Wait (London: Penguin Books, 1964).
King, Martin Luther, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., edited by James Melvin Washington.
Thurman, Howard, “The Inwardness of Religion.” In The Creative Encounter, 19-55.
Vela-McConnell, Who is my Neighbor: Social Affinity in a Modern World. (New York: State University of New York Press, 1999), 1-14